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grudlian.

Star Wars

Star Wars  

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  1. 1. Does "Star Wars" belong on the AFI list?

    • Yes
      11
    • Maclunkey! ūüí•
      1

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  • Poll closed on 12/27/19 at 08:00 AM

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Amy & Paul make the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs to 1977's George Lucas space fantasy Star Wars! They learn why Carrie Fisher hated those buns, praise the visionary designs of Ralph McQuarrie, and ask if we can still appreciate it as a single film in a post Star Wars world. Plus: Paul Hirsch, the editor of Star Wars, talks about bringing Lucas' vision to the final cut. 

Edited by DanEngler
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It looks like I'm not able to add a poll for some reason. But I would assume this is a 100% yes vote. If someone is genuinely against this being in the top 100, I'd be very curious to hear their reasoning.

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My favorite Star Wars Simpsons reference is when Mark Hamill played himself doing a Star Wars version of Guys and Dolls. I know that song he sings by heart and would sing it to my cat while growing up, but instead of Luke I would sing Tiger and tell him to be that Jedi tonight. It brings back a lot of good little Taylor and her cat memories.

I also thought that there was a real version of that song in Guys & Dolls and definitely expected Frank Sinatra at some point to just bust out singing "Guys & dolls! We're just a bunch of crazy guys & dolls!"

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As to the film's worthiness for the list: Yes, duh. This is like The Godfather, where if it's not on the list I don't even know what we're doing.

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20 minutes ago, FictionIsntReal said:

John Simon's first piece for New York may have been a defense of booing, but he didn't always review things negatively. For example, his review of Cats was completely positive. And when he disagreed with Siskel and Ebert about Star Wars, he recommended that kids watch "Tender Mercies" instead.

That Siskel & Ebert clip is wild. Tender Mercies, really?

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11 hours ago, grudlian. said:

It looks like I'm not able to add a poll for some reason. But I would assume this is a 100% yes vote. If someone is genuinely against this being in the top 100, I'd be very curious to hear their reasoning.

Depends what you mean by "against".  I don't like Star Wars, I don't think they're good movies, at least wanting in the sense of what one might phrase as "substance to connect to on some emotional level".  But I'm also that way towards most action/adventure movies, and I feel like I'm voting "no" more than most people, so are we surprised?  Now, of these type of movies, I'm the least surprised if, of any of them making a best of list, it's going to be Star Wars, but that's more just recognition that a lot of people love these movies to some interwoven into their DNA type of things (relatedly, looking at the BFI polls, Star Wars ranked about 174 with critics and 224th with directors.  Based on past whittling down to ~US films, that probably means 87th with the critics. https://www.bfi.org.uk/films-tv-people/4ce2b6b738e6d/sightandsoundpoll2012).

If by against, you meant, I would choose 100 other movies before this one to put on a best 100 movies list, then yes, I'd fit that category.

I think for some perspective there, you know how Amy speculated about the effect that this was the first movie everyone owned on VHS and rewatched it to death?  Well... while I really liked Star Wars when I was in grade school, the movie, that I rented so many times, that after a month my parents just bought me the VHS, and then after rewatching it so much, they had to buy a replacement?  Transformers: The Movie (1986).  If I were to just assume, because I watched it so much as a child, that meant, I would want it on a top 100 movie list, I'd feel that'd be a little daffy.

 

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From the episode, it sounds like June has never seen any of the original Star Wars.  I would have liked/been curious to have had her as an extra guest, so we could get the response of someone to Star Wars who encountered it for the first time as an adult. 

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5 minutes ago, ol' eddy wrecks said:

From the episode, it sounds like June has never seen any of the original¬†Star Wars.¬† I would have liked/been curious to have had her as an extra¬†guest, so we could get the response of someone to Star Wars who encountered it for the first time as an adult.¬† ÔĽŅ

If it's any consolation, Lauren Lapkus and Nicole Byer are recording a podcast where they watch all the Star Wars movies for the first time.

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1 hour ago, DanEngler said:

If it's any consolation, Lauren Lapkus and Nicole Byer are recording a podcast where they watch all the Star Wars movies for the first time.

Nicole mentioned this on her podcast and I can't wait!

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12 hours ago, DanEngler said:

If it's any consolation, Lauren Lapkus and Nicole Byer are recording a podcast where they watch all the Star Wars movies for the first time.

Omggg! I kinda thought it was funny that Nicole was steadfastly refusing to ever watch them lol! She said she got joy out of denying men the opportunity to be the ones to show her the franchise, and then her best friend Sasheer Zamata (if y'all aren't listening to Best Friends pls do it) has offered to be that person literally ever time she brings it up lol.

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I'm a bit surprised that Empire was so quickly pushed aside on the podcast and hasn't been discussed here.  Particularly since the argument seemed much more based on influence and impact than quality, I think it's important to point out that The Empire Strikes Back contains perhaps as many things that live on in public consciousness as Star Wars does.  (When people think of iconic Star Wars moments or information, my guess is what they think of is 40% from Episode IV, 40% from Episode V,  10% from Episode VI, and 10% from all other movies together.)  Paul mentioned that Star Wars information is so ubiquitous that most people know that Darth Vader is Luke's father without seeing any of the movies.  But again, that information isn't presented in Star Wars, but rather it's given in The Empire Strikes Back.  And while Star Wars had John Williams give us the main title theme, the force theme, and Leia's theme, it wasn't until Empire that we got the Imperial Death March, which may actually be more well-known than the others.  Episode IV lacks Yoda and Lando, and the only lightsaber battle in Episode IV kind of blows compared to what the series would later give us.

And to be honest, the principle of this original vs sequel argument isn't one I've been very consistent on, as I lobbied hard for Toy Story despite accepting that Toy Story 3 is a better film and I decry The Godfather Part II for retreading over much of the same territory as The Godfather, yet I also voted against The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring because I think it's the weakest of the three films.  So if this were asking whether I'd pick Episode IV or Episode V for inclusion (as Amy once did on an early episode of The Canon), I'd be more torn.  But if we're using Star Wars as a stand-in for the whole series, then clearly it belongs on the list.  However, I'm just judging it on its merits as a film, so though it still makes my list, it won't be as high as The Empire Strikes Back would be.  (I'll probably have Star Wars in the 50-60 range when it's all said and done.)

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1 hour ago, bleary said:

I'm a bit surprised that Empire was so quickly pushed aside on the podcast and hasn't been discussed here.  Particularly since the argument seemed much more based on influence and impact than quality, I think it's important to point out that The Empire Strikes Back contains perhaps as many things that live on in public consciousness as Star Wars does.  (When people think of iconic Star Wars moments or information, my guess is what they think of is 40% from Episode IV, 40% from Episode V,  10% from Episode VI, and 10% from all other movies together.)  Paul mentioned that Star Wars information is so ubiquitous that most people know that Darth Vader is Luke's father without seeing any of the movies.  But again, that information isn't presented in Star Wars, but rather it's given in The Empire Strikes Back.  And while Star Wars had John Williams give us the main title theme, the force theme, and Leia's theme, it wasn't until Empire that we got the Imperial Death March, which may actually be more well-known than the others.  Episode IV lacks Yoda and Lando, and the only lightsaber battle in Episode IV kind of blows compared to what the series would later give us.

And to be honest, the principle of this original vs sequel argument isn't one I've been very consistent on, as I lobbied hard for Toy Story despite accepting that Toy Story 3 is a better film and I decry The Godfather Part II for retreading over much of the same territory as The Godfather, yet I also voted against The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring because I think it's the weakest of the three films.  So if this were asking whether I'd pick Episode IV or Episode V for inclusion (as Amy once did on an early episode of The Canon), I'd be more torn.  But if we're using Star Wars as a stand-in for the whole series, then clearly it belongs on the list.  However, I'm just judging it on its merits as a film, so though it still makes my list, it won't be as high as The Empire Strikes Back would be.  (I'll probably have Star Wars in the 50-60 range when it's all said and done.)

I agree that quality over impact is something I've heavily been considering while going through this list, because I honestly do not think they are one and the same. But I had this thought during the LOTR episode that they specifically put the first of these giant trilogies to force people to start from the beginning rather than jump into the middle of an overarching story. Personally, I'm not quite sure really how much you need of The Godfather before seeing Part II, maybe that's naive maybe it isn't. Certainly, though, you can not come into Empire Strikes Back without having first seen Star Wars and have any of it make much sense to you. There needs to be the emotional weight of the three leads meeting, the bond between Ben and Luke, and then the subsequent death of Ben (I agree that is a really lackluster saber fight compared to so much we've seen in this series). To me, this is AFI putting all three movies on under the guise of just one, because they probably have a giant feeling that once you start you're going to most likely continue.

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I think Star Wars alone is enough to make the list just as a movie by itself, and because it is a stand-alone story unlike anything else in the series that's the right one to be there.

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^^  there's a lot to like about Empire, but I agree that Star Wars can stand alone.  It would deserve to be on the list even if there hadn't been sequels.  

Jaws is one of my favorite movies.  It also happens to be the first movie I remember seeing in a theater that was a huge event.  Then Rocky.  Then Star Wars.  But Star Wars obviously went beyond being a movie -- all the little boys I knew had the toys, the album, the home furnishings, and fast food tie ins.  And US childhood was never the same.   I understand why they had to make the next two movies, but I wish they had stopped there.  

(just a random thought, but it's puzzled me why I didn't see Empire in the theater, and likely didn't see it till I rented a VHS tape at some point, and I remember the press around Return of the Jedi far more than around Empire.  I mean, Empire was obviously a big huge deal but something must have been going on in my life at that point, because I was movie obsessed but it was a big blank spot for me.)

Also, I think Friendly Fire had a fun podcast about Star Wars.

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On 12/19/2019 at 9:19 PM, ol' eddy wrecks said:

Depends what you mean by "against".  I don't like Star Wars, I don't think they're good movies, at least wanting in the sense of what one might phrase as "substance to connect to on some emotional level".  But I'm also that way towards most action/adventure movies, and I feel like I'm voting "no" more than most people, so are we surprised?  Now, of these type of movies, I'm the least surprised if, of any of them making a best of list, it's going to be Star Wars, but that's more just recognition that a lot of people love these movies to some interwoven into their DNA type of things (relatedly, looking at the BFI polls, Star Wars ranked about 174 with critics and 224th with directors.  Based on past whittling down to ~US films, that probably means 87th with the critics. https://www.bfi.org.uk/films-tv-people/4ce2b6b738e6d/sightandsoundpoll2012).

If by against, you meant, I would choose 100 other movies before this one to put on a best 100 movies list, then yes, I'd fit that category.

I think for some perspective there, you know how Amy speculated about the effect that this was the first movie everyone owned on VHS and rewatched it to death?  Well... while I really liked Star Wars when I was in grade school, the movie, that I rented so many times, that after a month my parents just bought me the VHS, and then after rewatching it so much, they had to buy a replacement?  Transformers: The Movie (1986).  If I were to just assume, because I watched it so much as a child, that meant, I would want it on a top 100 movie list, I'd feel that'd be a little daffy.

 

By against it, I mean thinking it doesn't belong on the list. We've debated what the list should be before. Despite everyone's individual take on what that is, I think we've all had some movies that we voted on for "importance" more than we've enjoyed it. 

So, I'm not really asking if people like Star Wars but I think we can all agree from a stance of influence alone it's a no brainer. At the very least, I'd say someone is uneducated (or have a massive hole) on American cinema of the last 40 years if you haven't seen Star Wars.

There is something to be said against Star Wars as just a kid's movie in the first era of home video. I don't think it would have been a flash in the pan we all forgot about had VCRs not existed though. It was still widely seen by people of all ages around the world and was a massive box office success. It had staying power without home media.

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On 12/19/2019 at 5:04 PM, sycasey 2.0 said:

As to the film's worthiness for the list: Yes, duh. This is like The Godfather, where if it's not on the list I don't even know what we're doing.

I got banned from the podcast‚Äôs Facebook group for a week for saying that people who voted that The Godfather shouldn‚Äôt be on the lists‚Äô ‚Äúfeelings were ugly and wrong.‚ÄĚ

Guess the group admins didn’t know that it was a Simpsons reference.

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Just gonna throw this in there: LOTR has a cliffhanger ending and is on the list by itself. That said, it is there as a stand-in for the whole trilogy.

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On 12/22/2019 at 2:08 PM, grudlian. said:

By against it, I mean thinking it doesn't belong on the list. We've debated what the list should be before.

Well, there's different levels of "against" - e.g. there's Amy's "I would eye-roll if they put a superhero movie on the list," and then there's, "I'd make room for something else."

 

On 12/22/2019 at 2:08 PM, grudlian. said:

Despite everyone's individual take on what that is, I think we've all had some movies that we voted on for "importance" more than we've enjoyed it.¬†ÔĽŅ

So, I'm not really asking if people like Star Wars but I think we can all agree from a stance of influence alone it's a no brainer.

I have deference to authority on certain genres, or more, eras.  And then there's also, "I respected it more than I enjoyed it," which still implies one thinks the movie is good even if they didn't enjoy it. I don't think Star Wars would qualify as that for me (one person I knew in college described the Star Wars movies as being empty fluff.  I'd have to agree).  In terms of voting for something because of influence, I think I need that elaborated more before I can comment on it.  Because there's a lot of different vectors of influence (because depending on what type of influence you're talking about, I don't know that I've actually cast such a vote - at least one purely on influence).  So, what type of influence do you think Star Wars has had that makes it worthy of being on a list called "Greatest American Films of all Time"?

On 12/22/2019 at 2:08 PM, grudlian. said:

At the very least, I'd say someone is uneducated (or have a massive hole) on American cinema of the last 40 years if you haven't seen Star Wars.

Well, maybe one segment of American cinema.  And that might just be more about cultural impact and less about quality (but that's a longer topic). The more I think about this line, the more I'm curious about the people who haven't seen Star Wars growing up.  Because it's like, when I grew up, it's just something I'd assumed everyone had seen, because it was everywhere.  Then as I got to high school, I realized, there were some people who had seen it a lot. So when I meet people as an adult, in roughly my demographic that has never seen the OT, I am a little curious about their thoughts on the movie if they do see it.  Which to your statement, I don't know, I don't feel like they're really missing that much.

On 12/22/2019 at 2:08 PM, grudlian. said:

There is something to be said against Star Wars as just a kid's movie in the first era of home video. I don't think it would have been a flash in the pan we all forgot about had VCRs not existed though. It was still widely seen by people of all ages around the world and was a massive box office success. It had staying power without home media.

Yeah, I think that might Amy more trying to figure out why it got so ingrained into children's culture (though I think realistically, it wasn't just that) and hypothesizing one reason. I was using that re-watching on VHS more as a symptom of, something you loved as a kid so much.  I think that since its presence was overtly present (merchandising!), that some people can't separate their experience from watching it as children from how they would feel about the movie if they encountered it for the first time today (but that's speculation on my part).

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11 hours ago, ol' eddy wrecks said:

I have deference to authority on certain genres, or more, eras.  And then there's also, "I respected it more than I enjoyed it," which still implies one thinks the movie is good even if they didn't enjoy it. I don't think Star Wars would qualify as that for me (one person I knew in college described the Star Wars movies as being empty fluff.  I'd have to agree).  In terms of voting for something because of influence, I think I need that elaborated more before I can comment on it.  Because there's a lot of different vectors of influence (because depending on what type of influence you're talking about, I don't know that I've actually cast such a vote - at least one purely on influence).  So, what type of influence do you think Star Wars has had that makes it worthy of being on a list called "Greatest American Films of all Time"?

Probably the biggest is advancing special effects in film. Compared to what a lot of special effects heavy movies looked like pre Star Wars and after Star Wars, it's pretty obvious that it was revolutionizing the industry purely from a technical standpoint.

With special effects, we can also see that special effects spectacle films increased dramatically even to today. Spectacle films didn't originate with Star Wars, but they stopped being relegated to B movies.

I think the over reliance on using the Hero's Journey monomyth as a basic story structure is due to Star Wars.

I don't think Star Wars originated anything but it popularized a lot of things in a way no other movie had before. I may not even like the influence it has had on movies, but it's there.

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Fun fact that didn’t get mentioned on the podcast: The original version of the first movie actually does include CGI. The sequences of the targeting computers on both the Falcon and in the Death Star trench run are what CGI consisted of at that point.

So is the 3D animation that explained the battle plan for attacking the Death Star. It took several months to render and the design for it was changed during that time, which is why it has the dish for firing in the middle instead of the top.

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Re: the editing of Star Wars, here's a great video on how the movie was really shaped there. George Lucas' wife Marcia making a big contribution here again.

 

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